Sunday, March 17, 2013

J: Week 10 (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries)

Mira tipped me off on this web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries late last summer. It's a modern day adaptation of Pride & Prejudice told through video blogs and also other social media like twitter and tumblr and such. I'd been slowly working through the series from the beginning until yesterday -- when things got really REALLY good and I spent over 2 hours getting up to date! The story is not over yet, so now sadly I have to wait for new episodes biweekly!

Anyway, we all know how Pride & Prejudice goes and there have been countless adaptations over the years but somehow this retelling has still managed to be incredibly fresh & creative while also very faithful to the original story. The choices they've made bringing the characters and plot points into the modern era have just been so smart and often really funny.

For example, they decided to only have three Bennet sisters - Jane, Lizzie, and Lydia. Mary is a cousin instead - in the novel she's "plain," uninterested in parties and dancing and mostly just reads books, so in this world, of course she's an emo girl! And Kitty - well, she doesn't really do much except hang around Lydia so here...she's just an actual cat, ha! Mr. Collins is still a silly caricature but he's not going around proposing marriage -- he's offering jobs at his new media company! Lizzie feels that working for him would be compromising her integrity but her best friend Charlotte? She's not so idealistic and takes the job! It's amazing how well their "marriage of convenience" from the novel translates to a business relationship. Pemberley? Darcy's company! Lizzie falls in love with their swanky headquarters!

The main video blogs are Lizzie's, but they've also had Lydia, Maria (Charlotte's sister), and Gigi (Darcy's sister Georgiana) have their own videos. Lydia's especially have been really awesome - they've helped to really flesh out her character beyond just being a silly party girl. In the novel, Lydia annoyed me from the beginning - but here she's super likable and relatable. The way they translated the Lydia/Wickham plotline was what totally sucked me in yesterday - it floored me with how good it was!

Anyway, so I guess by this point you're wondering - what about Lizzie and Darcy?? Well, they definitely took their sweet time getting Darcy on camera. He didn't appear until episode 60, which is the  "first proposal" scene. Of course, he doesn't actually propose marriage, but he does confess his feelings.  I have to say, at first, I wasn't so sure about the actor they cast (he's no Colin Firth). But their chemistry immediately felt very authentic. And of course, once they introduce Gigi, he starts to soften up. I have to admit, usually P&P for me is all about Lizzie/Darcy, but I love that here it's not so front-and-center and we've gotten to spend more time with the other characters. Still, we are getting to the part of the story where Lizzie and Darcy finally get together, and I. Can't. Wait!!

Speaking of casting, overall it's been pretty darn amazing. They started with just the three sisters and Charlotte, but they've gradually brought in Bing (Bing Lee, ha - Asian!), Caroline, Wickham, Fitz (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Georgiana...all of whom have really grown into their roles. I liked how Caroline initially actually seems pretty cool -- it's more understandable how Jane initially considered her a friend.

So if you're at all a fan of Pride & Prejudice, you are going to LOVE this series. Be warned though, it can suck up hours of your time! Be sure to follow the story from here so you don't miss any of the side videos, Q&As, or twitter conversations. SO GOOD!

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